Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Bookstore Blogging: How to Get It Done

Do you read blogs from bookstores? As a new bookseller I'm interested in getting to know what you like or don't like about blogs written by booksellers on behalf of their stores. I confess I don't read that many; once in a while I read the Green Apple Core, a blog from the wonderful Green Apple Books in San Francisco. I visited the Green Apple when I was in San Francisco several years ago and started reading their blog afterward. They did a hilarious video series on the book vs. the Kindle and they always have interesting, fun articles about the book industry and the weird and wonderful books they stock. I've read the Porter Square Book Store blog off and on (and now that's where I work, so I'll be reading it more consistently!) and some library blogs.

What do you look for in a bookstore blog? Do you want to interact with the booksellers? Do you want a convenient way to find out about events? Do you want to see staff picks or new arrivals? What holds your attention? Or if you don't read them, why not? What have you seen on a bookstore blog that you don't like?

A couple of weeks ago I participated in a Twitter chat on the subject of bookstore blogs and the consensus from booksellers seemed to be that their customers want to know about events and want a blog that transmits the personality of the store while offering customers content they're interested in. Sounds simple, but how do you get it done, and how do you evaluate results?

As a bookstore customer, I like engagement and unique content; I don't want to read the same promotional blurbs I'm seeing everywhere else. I want to hear about idiosyncratic arrivals, selections that make that particular bookstore unique, and I want to interact with the blog. From a customer perspective, I think it's nice when the comments are posted quickly so I can see my comment on the blog and if the blogger wants to respond in the comments, great. I don't want to talk into a void!


If you're a bookseller, how do you view store blogs? Does your store have one? How do you delegate or divide up the workload? Writing a blog is a lot of work; you have to come up with ideas, come up with a schedule, write the posts, respond to comments, and keep it going over time. When you also have to wait on customers, stock shelves and do all the things you have to do to run or work in a store, blogging may be the last thing you have time for.

I'm fascinated to learn more about blogging for a bookstore and I hope you'll share your thoughts and experiences, whether you sell books or buy them!